The Cowboys did a lot of searching both high and low this offseason in order to find themselves a solution to the quarterback woes of last year. Now, they believe that they have got a guy that they can groom behind Tony Romo. By looks of it, they may have got more than just a backup.
After doing multiple scouting reports of Dak Prescott all offseason and mocking him several times to the Cowboys, you would think that there isn't much more that I don't already know. Despite all the research, I haven't put in nearly the amount of effort and time as our buddies over at For Whom The Cowbell Tolls, SB Nation's Mississippi State affiliate. So, in order to get a better grasp on the Cowboys' new developmental signal caller, I sat down with Daniel Black and Ethan Lee to get the real scoop. Two Mississippi State Bulldogs and two opinions. The quarterback position is the most important in all of the NFL, two opinions are likely better than one. Away we go...
BTB: A lot of scouts and coaches laud Prescott for his leadership qualities. In your words, how would you describe his command of his position at Mississippi State and how he was received by his teammates?
Daniel: During his time at Mississippi State, Dak was the definition of a leader. He is one of the most beloved players in school history, due in large part to those leadership qualities. He was loved by his teammates, fans, and even competitors. His leadership qualities defined his time in Starkville.
Ethan: Dak Prescott's ability to lead is really one of the biggest things that made his career at Mississippi State so special and unique and it really goes beyond his level of play and control of the offense. He never seemed to be lost when it came to how Dan Mullen's system was supposed to work and it was often reported that he would call many of the plays on the field based on what he saw.
And it seemed like his teammates really responded to him, both on and off the field. If you scroll through the twitter timelines of guys that played with him, such as Josh Robinson, Ben Beckwith, Dillon Day, Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay, you'll find tweets that express their incredible support for Dak. When he was attacked while on spring break before his senior season, there was an overwhelming outpouring of support from not only fans but also from his current and former teammates. Dak Prescott is a living legend for Mississippi State and he's loved just as much by his teammates as he is by the fans and the Mississippi State community.
BTB: Dak gets two pro comparisons that are very different from each other. One is of Tim Tebow and the other is Russell Wilson. Obviously, the Tebow comparison is quite scary. Are these accurate comps and how would you describe or compare his abilities to NFL peers?
Daniel: I'd say they are fair comparisons. I do think that the Tebow comparison is more for his college career, not the pros. Dak is similar to a Russell Wilson, Tim Tebow, or even a Cam Newton type in his style of play. They're all dual-threat quarterbacks; they can run and throw the ball. And don't forget, Tebow and Cam were both coached by Dan Mullen at Florida, so the comparisons to those two are pretty much implied for Dak, as he is a Mullen product as well.
Ethan: Physically, I think the Dak and Tebow comparison is a better comparison than to compare Dak to Russell Wilson. Dak is about 3 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than Wilson. In regards to throwing the football, I believe Dak's senior season is more similar to Russell Wilson's senior season than it would be to Tebow's. If I remember correctly, Tebow never developed his game to be central to throwing the ball the way that Dak and Wilson both did in their senior seasons. Ultimately, I'm not really sure who the best comparison would be at the moment. There's a good possibility that the best comparison would be somewhere between Tebow and Wilson. I don't think Dak is as prepared for the NFL as Wilson was, but he's likely in a better situation than Tebow was.
BTB: Some analysts have said that Dak Prescott could be in the very best situation for himself behind Tony Romo. Do you see this to be true and how will Prescott benefit from his situation?
Daniel: I agree that it's the best situation for Dak. Learning under an NFL veteran is fantastic for any newcomer to the league. The case with Dak and Romo is quite intriguing because Romo is a pro-style QB; he excels throwing the ball. Dak is a spread quarterback who is still improving as a passer, so learning under Romo is crucial for his future success.
Ethan: I think it's a great position for him to be in. Obviously being able to step into a situation where he can be the number two quarterback for a franchise that has an established leader at the position will allow him to step in, get some decent practice time in, and allow himself to develop at a natural pace. I believe that this will likely be the biggest difference between Dak and Tebow. If Dak can take the opportunity to learn from Romo and hone his skills, he'll have a great chance to keep his career from ending the way that Tim Tebow's did, and it's possible that he'll develop into the kind of quarterback that Russell Wilson is.
BTB: What about Dak Prescott's game sets him apart from other players and gives the Cowboys the most confidence moving forward?
Daniel: I think it's his ability to run the ball. Dual-threat QBs are still not very common in the NFL, so his being in a spread system could help Dallas move to a new direction in which they could shine.
Ethan: Aside from the athleticism and sheer strength that Dak has, the unique part of his game is that he doesn't quit. He'll fight all the way through on each and every play. I think the best example of this can be seen in the 2013 Mississippi State and Texas A&M game. This game happened shortly after Dak's mother, Peggy Prescott, had passed away and was days after her funeral. He didn't have a full week of practice and we were just coming off of a blowout loss to South Carolina that felt worse than it actually was in the middle of a season where there was a chance that we wouldn't end up bowl eligible.
And despite not winning the game, Dak seemed to fight and scratch and claw and do everything he could to go score for score with Johnny Manziel and one of the best offenses the SEC has ever seen. Dak was so unrelenting during this game that it was reported that he kept playing even when his throwing arm went numb and he needed the assistance of one of his offensive lineman to help pick up his arm so he could check the plays on his wristband in the huddle. I don't think Dak is that reckless with his health anymore. He seems to be more intelligent about the way he plays, but that drive and desire to win no matter what is still there and that's what made so many Mississippi State fans love him.
BTB: Do you believe that Prescott has the tangibles and intangibles it takes to become the heir-apparent after Romo retires? What is Prescott's ceiling? Do you see an average starter or eventual franchise quarterback?
Daniel: It's difficult to predict the future for any NFL player, particularly a quarterback. I truly do believe Dak could become a franchise QB and win a Super Bowl. The one thing he needs to improve on is his passing. He has to get acclimated to the pro-style system. He has the playmaking abilities and leadership qualities down, but if he can perfect his abilities through the air, the sky is the limit for Dak Prescott.
Ethan: Dak's intangibles are definitely there. I don't think I've read anything that called those into question. He obviously needs to learn an offense that doesn't operate solely out of shotgun and pistol formations that require his running ability as much and some of his downfield passing is a bit inaccurate, but I don't see why he couldn't become an average starter.
Right now, I'm hesitant to say his ceiling is above that. That being said, he made significant strides forward as a passer each and every season he started for the Maroon and White. What people will project his ceiling to be will likely be wrong simply because of how hard he works and how much he wants to improve his game. If he dedicates himself to working as hard as he did in college, he'll likely improve more than most will expect.
It's pretty safe to say that Mississippi State believes the Cowboys have got themselves a good one as they absolutely love Prescott. Look no further than this touching video below: